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Old 08-17-2005, 10:30 AM   #76
DoctorIt
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Aw yeeeaaaah! Congrats Photog!!!


So I have one question thats been bugging me every since you started on the quest for your Stella: are the upgrades necessary? I'm thinking since it nearly scared the crap out of you on your first ride, it'd be more than sufficient in stock form?

Its like a damn disease though, eh? I come home and go through the cupboards to see whats missing... I've been to the supermarket everyday this week! Hit the twisties last night... and I only have 50cc! I want 150!!!
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:48 AM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorIt
Aw yeeeaaaah! Congrats Photog!!!
So I have one question thats been bugging me every since you started on the quest for your Stella: are the upgrades necessary? I'm thinking since it nearly scared the crap out of you on your first ride, it'd be more than sufficient in stock form?
It took a bit of butt-recalibration for me to get back into 2-strokes. The stock motor is pretty mild; it doesn't mind being lugged around town. You can get it into 3rd gear and leave it there, which says a lot about the overall tractablity of that motor. As such I figured it would have a bit more oomph when modded, but not that slingshot feel of a tuned 2-stroke on the pipe.

What a nice surprise to find out it's sorta peaky.

After a few days of riding, it feels totally normal and "mild", but I also know I have plenty of get-up-and-go under my wrist, though I am still finding out where that powerband peak is.

That's what these Vespas and Lambrettas are known for: their ability to be hotrodded into bikes that will thrill even the most jaded rider. Noone would expect it--it's a wolf in sheep's clothing. Otherwise they wouldn't have such a big following.

I'm still in break-in, but have cracked it wide open a few times and passed (quickly) everything else on the road include a surprised sportbike or two in a few corners. Top-gear roll-on between 50 and 60 surprised me. Like an RZ/RD, you have to figure out how to keep the revs up where you need them for those sorts of surprise attacks; otherwise (like my RZ) they're happy to just plod along, looking for prey.

As a stocker it's still a fine, fun bike. It's just one of those type bikes that begs for mods since the parts are pretty cheap. So the cost of entry is pretty low--get it, break it in, and then decide from the TONS of parts what's gonna work for you. The kit I have on there now is a "touring" kit--it's possible to make it MUCH faster.

Quote:
Its like a damn disease though, eh? I come home and go through the cupboards to see whats missing... I've been to the supermarket everyday this week! Hit the twisties last night... and I only have 50cc! I want 150!!!
Yeah, they beg for twisties, don't they? I suppose you have already discovered the thrill of taking every 90 degree corner with the throttle pinned. Sitting at a stoplight with a grin, sizing up the car next to you. Not backing off in corners EVER. Egad, those things will take corners like nothing else. All they need is a bit more horsepower....

....and the hook is set.

I actually look forward to errand-running. I even make up some errands. "Hey! We're out of flour! We're running low on night-light bulbs!"
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:42 PM   #78
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TNG makes some good stuff.

When you getting it?
SWMBO and I have begun formal negotiations.
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:19 PM   #79
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Hit 70mph (indicated) today. Backed off, but it was pretty solid getting there. That's probably all it'll do with the current gearing.

The SIP pipe ROCKS.
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:20 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
Hit 70mph (indicated) today. Backed off, but it was pretty solid getting there. That's probably all it'll do with the current gearing.

The SIP pipe ROCKS.
70 mph on a Stella sounds skeery.
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:28 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linzi
70 mph on a Stella sounds skeery.
The chassis is fine...the brakes are fine...suspension is fine...10" skinny-ass tires...not so fine.

It's stable at speed, but you have to REALLY tone down your steering inputs. The other night I decided to try a high-speed swerve and w/o thinking shoved the bar one direction (classic swerve/recovery type maneuver) and I damn near tucked the front end under the floorboard.

Next performance upgrade will be fat sticky tires. (tyres)

PS - I started a new "cool scoot pics" thread in Old School Rides.
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:45 PM   #82
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So how do you shift those things, they are 4 speed? is there a clutch lever, or auto?
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:55 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by bentspoke
So how do you shift those things, they are 4 speed? is there a clutch lever, or auto?
This one is a 4-speed. The clutch is on the left (as on a motorcycle) and shifting is done by twisting the left grip assembly--the clutch lever and grip all turn simultaneously. Pattern is 1-N-2-3-4. Just pull in the clutch, twist the grip, ease out the clutch.
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:59 PM   #84
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Always wondered how that worked. I like the manual transmission idea, as belt/shiv auto's are simple but rob power.
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Old 08-17-2005, 06:08 PM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bentspoke
Always wondered how that worked. I like the manual transmission idea, as belt/shiv auto's are simple but rob power.
It's a bit slower off the line than some of the CVT scoots I've been on, but it's easier to keep "on the pipe" with the manual transmission. But the newest automatic scoots really have the CVT thing nailed, and you can do a lot to dial in the variators to your liking.

Combined with the really nice exhaust system I have on it, the bike has a nice mean sound to it. Nice pop-pp-poppp-pop uneven idle to it, then a gorgeous raspy growl as you go through the gears. Totally different feel than an automatic 4-stroke scoot. I'm gonna have to be careful--I've noticed I'm a lot more squidly on it.

I'm beginning to understand the fuss over the classic metal geared scoots now. They are small-scale badasses. I'm in love.
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Old 09-18-2005, 05:26 PM   #86
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dialed in

Just in case someone is pondering a Stella purchase and wants to mod it, I think I've finally got mine dialed in.

Stats:
2003 Stella
Pinasco 177 kit
24G Dellorto (not to be confused with the 24E...different animal) 120 air corrector, BE4 mixer, 110 main, and a 50/100 idle.
SIP/JL pipe
about 500ASL elevation around here
800 miles total on bike, about 675 on the kit, moderate break-in (some WFO)
Amsoil Dominator - autolube
NGK B8ES

I've been running a 110 main and the bike apparently soft-seized a few weeks ago during a long ride on a hot day at 50-55mph or so. Also had a slight oil lead at the head. Tonight I removed the head and took a look--piston looked like it had a bit of carbon, but nothing white and burnt. Cleaned the head up a bit, cleaned up the piston a bit, retorqued to 12 ftlbs.

Tried a 118 main and B8HS plug (I know, don't change two things at once). Fouled immediately. Might've been able to nurse it along but - feh - I have a short attention span.

Dropped to a 112 main and the B8ES that had always worked. Stumbled a bit but once warmed up, the bike pulled like a freight train from 20mph in 4th gear, and from 50mph on up in 4th it was wicked-fast. Not scooter-fast, but motorcycle-fast. I backed off since it was nighttime and I was beginning to override the headlight and I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans (helmet & gloves only). Banshee-fast. Goosebump wheelie hooligan fast.

Verdict: a bit early to tell since I haven't done a plug chop, but the bike SOUNDS marvellous at this jetting and is EXTREMELY quick. Throttle response is right-now quick. If the plug chop works, I'll stick with this or maybe up to a 115 for the hell of it for safety.

So here's what I've got and I seem to be close to nirvana:
Pinasco 177 kit, shaved fins for elestart
24/24G: 120 air corrector, BE4 mixer, 112 main, 50/100 idle
SIP/JL pipe
500ASL
Amsoil Dominator - autolube - will be switching to Castrol TTS
NGK B8ES

The rest of the bike is great--smooth shifting (still a bit clunky downshifting to 1st) and clutch is wonderful. Will do halogen and LED conversions. Also purchased a GS-style sprung seat frame and cover--will document the build-up on that later.
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Old 09-18-2005, 05:46 PM   #87
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I don't pick up the new Zuma til Friday and I am already thinking about a Stage II kit.
should make the commute to work more fun.

I see a winter project in the making.
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Old 09-18-2005, 05:53 PM   #88
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Good info Photog.

I'm happy to say my Stella has been back on the road since last Tuesday, but I haven't ridden it much because I had some autolube leakage. That's what I get for re-using gaskets. I tried 3 times to get the correct gaskets from my local shop, but they kept sending me the wrong ones. Finally this morning I bought a roll of gasket paper and a razor knife, and made the new gaskets myself.

I have just about 200 miles on it since I ported and installed Pinasco kit & carb #2. It seems to run great.

So, my stats are as follows:
2005 Stella
24/24E carb
Using the mixer and air corrector that came in the carb
118 main
Idle mix screw 1.75 turns out from lightly seated
Pinasco 177 kit ported & matched transfer ports, polished combustion chamber
Sito exhaust
Stock plug
Timing verified at 19 degrees with a degree wheel & timing light
2% premix in addition to autolube (will go down to 1% after break-in)

I'm exposing it to some WFO during break-in, but only for short bursts. It saw 69 mph today briefly. Most of the time I cruise it at about 55, which requires almost no throttle. When it was stock 55 took almost all of the throttle.

I'm really hoping this one stays together, but since the last one got melted due to being sold the wrong carburetor I don't see why this one would blow up. So far so good.
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Old 09-18-2005, 06:52 PM   #89
Lobby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
Just in case someone is pondering a Stella purchase and wants to mod it, I think I've finally got mine dialed in.
...
Just thinking out loud....

Aren't these engines air cooled? If so, and you've mod-ed them to significantly increase horsepower, aren't you worried about all that increased engine heat damaging the engine?

I mean, how close to the edge of heat removal do you think you're running?

Of course, if the engine is water cooled, then I'm stoopit.
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Old 09-18-2005, 07:30 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobby
Just thinking out loud....

Aren't these engines air cooled? If so, and you've mod-ed them to significantly increase horsepower, aren't you worried about all that increased engine heat damaging the engine?

I mean, how close to the edge of heat removal do you think you're running?

Of course, if the engine is water cooled, then I'm stoopit.
No, good questions, actually.

The jug on mine (the scooter, that is) is aluminum. It sits underneath a cowl, but is forced-air cooled (plastic ductng runs over the fan and cylinder). That's the black thing in the pic below:



Or the grey thing on mine:



It's not unusual to see performance scoots running w/o the engine cowl in place, though there are differences of opinion on whether that's good.

Speaking of air, that little itty bitty hole up there on the seat, just forward of those two levers, is the air intake.



We're talking waaaaaay detuned. Not a lot of air in for combustion or out via the stock exhaust, and tightly cowled.

Air cooled engines are pretty good at keeping cool, to a point (think of the air-cooled tanks and other air cooled vehicles that were used in the desert) when run within design parameters--and can take a surprising amount of abuse. But there are some issues--being carbed instead of injected presents even more challenges. And the whole shebang is up under a cowl.

Here's a shot of the whole drivetrain (stock) from the left side--cylinder, transmission, swingarm, brake:



from below, you see the tranny and shock:



Pretty compact drivetrain.

The whole thing is pretty durable--the stock Vespa or Vespa/LML drivetrain is designed to run on really crappy gas and oil with no maintenance for years and years, just putting along under that cowl which is lined with a bit of sound-deadening--the cooling is coming from that fan that's part of the flywheel. They make a child seat that folds up from the front of the seat so that you can get 3-4 people on these things. It's always been a workhorse bike/powerplant...though you have to factor in what was considered reliable in 1946 and through the 80's...different definitions of "reliable".

What tends to be the engine-killer is when you kit them, and then set them up to run too lean--holing a piston and seizing--so the problem isn't so much engine cooling (ambient temps) as tending to the mixture (and timing), though the cooling is important. In a 2T engine, your mixture is your lube and cooling so jetting is waaaaay more important.

Jetting a 2T bike is a bit of a lost art (that's partly why we're begging for a scooter forum--smallbore 2T tuning is its own art/science). Part of the allure of the classic Vespa/Lamby bikes is kitting them and getting them dialed in, because the combination of chassis/wheels and a pipey 2T motor makes for a hellion.

Stock, they're pretty bulletproof. A "modern" 150cc reed valve motor in these bikes will do about 8-10 hp depending on if it's the Vespa rotary valve or Vespa/LML reed valve. Kitted (bigger carb, bigger cylinder, and more efficient exhaust), a reliable 12hp is pretty easy out of the LML reed valve 150 kitted to 177. Overseas, they're adding watercooled jugs and getting 35 hp out of the 200 cc motors and they're not terribly unreliable (though I wouldn't call them touring kits).

So...what I've got going is what's considered a "touring kit", with an emphasis on good heat exchange, along with good midrange power along with a nice little kick in the arse when you twist the throttle. The Pinasco is well made and reliable--after looking at the piston tonight, even with the soft seize a few weeks ago due to my lean jetting there's no appreciable damage.

If I were to change out the crank (a bit more flow, a bit more strength), I could probably show a bit over 13hp at the wheel on a dyno. While that doesn't sound like much, on a short-wheelbase small-wheeled bike that weighs 235 lbs, it makes for some real excitement, since the power delivery comes in a rush right in the middle of traffic speeds, put to the ground on 10" tires. Feels like a GP racer, but you get all the power between 45 and 65. Perfect. The next bump would be to buy a 200cc motor and kit that, and look for 25 hp on the same chassis.
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Photog screwed with this post 09-18-2005 at 07:41 PM
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